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Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 24, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BRAUN. I would call it the ``Democratic Politician Protection Act.'' Let's listen to a few of these things.

The Constitution vests primary responsibility in the States to set time, place, and manner of elections. States and localities have determined how to conduct elections for a long, long time. H.R. 1, through a top-down, Federal approach, completely reverses this longstanding tradition. Rather than strengthening the election process, it paves the way for rampant, I think, fraud, abuse, and litigation that diminishes the value of a legitimate vote, by doing these rushed reforms.

Let's look at the 2018 midterm elections. Polling showed that 92 percent of voters found their experience very easy or somewhat easy. Why fix it if it isn't broken? It imposes a DC-style election process on the States, requiring all State agencies and Federal agencies, including colleges and universities, to automatically register voters, including those who are 16 and 17 years old. It preempts State registration deadlines and requires same-day registration without verification safeguards. It expands the number of agencies that must contribute voter records, even to those who have no experience or expertise in voter enrollment, forcing States to accept a sworn statement as proof of identity, instead of photo identification, and to record the vote as a regular ballot. It expands absentee ballot availability and requires States to provide prepaid postage for all mail-in ballots.

It does so many things that are different from what we currently have in a system that in most places is working fine. It does not include provisions that require or encourage States to remove inaccurate voter information. It reduces the integrity of voter rolls by restricting the State ability to maintain voter rolls and records that ensure voter identity accuracy.

There are no penalties for anyone who is falsely registered. It prohibits States from being able to continue routine maintenance on their own voter lists. It also creates numerous private rights of action that pave the way for trial lawyers to sue when the results of an election are not to their liking.

It makes the Federal Election Commission a partisan body. It politicizes the FEC by changing the neutral, evenly divided, six-member body into a five-member panel. It makes a new partisan FEC. It changes the latitude to determine and interpret the subjective enforcement test established by this bill. It, in essence, takes what is working and complicates it with a top-down Federal system.

We should not be rushing into something like this that is that comprehensive. We should be paying attention to the process of getting a bona fide judge across the finish line, which I think most of us intend to do.